MSD retirement | Dhoni an inspirational figure, says former BCCI chief

N. Srinivasan calls him a match-winning batsman and brilliant captain

They share a bond that is deep, strong and has withstood turbulent times. “M.S. Dhoni is the greatest cricketer India has produced so far," said former ICC and BCCI chief N. Srinivasan talking to The Hindu here on Monday.

“He has accomplished everything. He is a match-winning batsman, an outstanding ‘keeper, a brilliant captain, a sensational leader of men and an inspirational figure. I have never seen him lose his cool on the cricket field. And he has excelled in all formats and in all conditions.” said Srinivasan.

No match

He added, “He is a destroyer of attacks and can still pull off lightning stumpings and continues to be super quick between wickets. And he has won for India, the ICC ODI World Cup, the World Twenty20, the Champions Trophy, and fetched India the mace for being the No. 1 Test side in the world. So as an all-round cricketer and a winner, he has no equal in Indian cricket.”

Asked whether he was aware of Dhoni’s sudden decision to retire from international cricket on Saturday, Srinivasan replied, “That is between me and him.”

Going back to Dhoni’s shock decision to quit as Test captain minutes after the Melbourne Test of 2014, Srinivasan said, “He had earlier wanted to retire from Tests and I said ‘no.’ And then he again wanted to retire from Tests soon after the Melbourne game and I didn’t stop him.”

The former BCCI chief revealed. “Dhoni said ‘Sir, just give me half an hour so that I can inform my teammates.’ He was just listening to his body, given his workload in Tests.”

Clear-headed, humble

Queried about Dhoni’s qualities, Srinivasan said, “He is simple, straight-forward, clear-headed, humble, loyal and someone who can lift the entire team around him.”

Explaining their relationship, Srinivasan said, “It is one of mutual respect. I gave him freedom, did not interfere in what he did. I have not just respect for him, but a great deal of affection too. For someone who has accomplished so much, he is so humble.”

Srinivasan observed, “He made his men believe in themselves at all times. He led by example. The manner in which he finished games showed his spirit.

“He is still super fit. He will play on and on for CSK. His bond with the club, it’s fans and Chennai is unshakable.”

Srinivasan concluded, “Dhoni is a good man to ride the river with.”

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